Monday, October 26, 2015

Secure Your Bike with #529Garage -- Free!

Signing up for 529 Garage was quick & easy.
Have you ever had your bike stolen? It seems like this is a pretty much universal experience here in Vancouver, sadly. The Vancouver Police Department receives 2000 reports of stolen bicycles every year. The VPD recovers about half that many, but since most aren't registered by serial number or even engraved with an ID number, the police have no way to track down the owners. Only about ten percent of the bikes reported stolen are found & returned to their rightful owners. The bikes the VPD can't connect to their owners end up being sold off in the annual VPD auction.

Get Your Bike Back

To help return bikes to their proper owners & possibly discourage theft in the first place, the VPD & the City of Vancouver are partnering with an American organization that has developed a new registration system that includes a smart phone app called 529 Garage.

The eventual goal is to make every bike in Canada & the US traceable in a single database. The Vancouver Police Department are committed to registering 10,000 Vancouver bicycles for free in the first three years of the registry.

Applying a 529 Garage shield to our Yuba Mundo
Here's how it works:

  1. Register online at
  2. Take photos & fill in info about your bike, including the serial number.
  3. Download the free app for your Android or Apple device.
  4. Optional: buy a shield sticker to put on your bike that helps police know the bike is registered
If your bike is stolen, you can use the app to quickly notify police: the information goes into the Ecomm database so any officer can access the information from dispatchers to reconnect owners with their bikes if the police recover them. (Note: you should still file an official police report as well) The alert also goes out to other users that your bike's in the wrong hands, so they can keep an eye out as well.

What does it cost?

You don't have to buy a 529 Garage shield to log your bike in the system--so it is free to join. If you want to put the sticker on your bike--this will make it that much easier for police to know it's logged, & possibly deter thieves--you can purchase a sticker online or in stores. One registration kit including the 529 Garage sticker is $10, or you can get a four bike kit for $25, both on

Log it, lock it, or lose it: 529 Garage kits at MEC
Where can you get it? 

Buy your shield online, as I mentioned earlier, or at MEC, or you can grab yours & sign up at the same time during Bike To Work Week at the following locations:

Tuesday, October 27
  • 7:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. at 2120 Cambie Street
  • 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Union & Gore
Wednesday, October 28
  • 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at Heather & West 10th Avenue
Thursday, October 29
  • 3:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at Stadium SkyTrain Station at Dunsmuir & Beatty Street
Friday, October 30
  • 3:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. outside Science World

Spokesmama's Verdict

I registered Monday morning at the media launch for 529 Garage outside the Vancouver Police headquarters. It only took longer than a minute because I was chatting with the officers & the CTV news people who were there. It really was easy to join. The only difficult thing was putting the shield on the bike--the stickers are very fragile so they can't easily be removed, which means you have to be extremely careful when putting them on or they fragment into tiny pieces.

Overall, I like anything that discourages bike theft--I hope that having the 529 stickers on our bikes will make them less attractive to thieves. I think 529 Garage will only work well if it has a big uptake--the more people join, the more eyeballs on the street who can see that your bike is missing & report it to police if they see it around. I think it's good to encourage people to log the serial number of their bike & I like that you don't have to buy the stickers or pay anything to use the program.

So... what are you waiting for? Head over to or one of the Bike To Work Week locations, & log your bike now!

Disclaimer: I received several free 529 Garage stickers at the media launch, but was not asked to write about this program or compensated in any way.

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